fork in the road

I’m already weary of the gay marriage debate issue (the debate seems to be over), though I am sure it’s an issue we’re not going to be able to ignore, and here’s why. These are two links from CNN, one which reports that last Friday the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America elected its first openly gay bishop, and another which reports on a Washington State florist who is being prosecuted for not making flowers for a gay wedding. Although Mrs. Stutzman (sounds like a Mennonite relative) happily referred the longtime customer to other florists, the customer said he “was really hurt because it was someone I knew.”

I understand the argument that this is tantamount to Jim Crow laws, when white racists dressed up not serving black people with moral, even (wince) biblical arguments. Maybe their sin is now being visited upon their grandchildren, because when we say we truly have a moral objection to gay marriage, the culture at large doesn’t seem willing to believe us. Of course, that still doesn’t change the fact that we do.

I know it’s often said that Christians are too negative, that we’re known for what we’re against rather than what we’re for. But there are going to be more stories like Mrs. Stutzman, as gay spouses bring the fight to us. Tell me how Mrs. Stutzman is supposed to do the right thing and not come off negative (for the record, she has hired gay employees in the past, so she is only opposed to gay marriage, not gay people).

God bless Mrs. Stutzman. She has seen the future, and she encourages Christians to ““Don’t give in. If you have to go down for Christ, what better person to go down for?”

3 Comments

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  1. Dr. Wittmer,
    As a pastor in Washington, this is quite real. My fear is that the church isn’t ready for what’s coming. Recently I made reference to this very same case, and my cousin responded with the accusation that such behavior was tantamount to racism and bigotry, saying, “I remember a time when people could deny service to others because of the color of their skin.” Implicitly I, as Christian who opposes so-called homosexual marriage, am the moral equivalent of a racist hate-monger. I can live with that-even in my own extended family. But I wonder if the church more broadly is prepared to stand in the midst of such accusations.
    You ask how she is supposed to do the right thing and not come off as negative? Sadly, I don’t think she can. At least not as our society has come to define negativity and tolerance. (D. A. Carson’s recent book is particularly helpful here.) I wonder what you think about this: if Mrs. Stutzman was refusing to do the floral arrangement on the basis of being Muslim, would she receive the same attention?

  2. That’s a good point. I thought of that watching Rachel Maddow on Meet the Press yesterday (I tape it so I don’t have to miss my sermon). Her aggressive condescension seemed a bit thick, and I wondered how that would play if she was talking to a Muslim cleric rather than Ralph Reed and Jim DeMint.

    I thought Peggy Noonan made a great point on the ABC show (I tape that too) when she said that while it’s tempting to applaud Wendy Davis’ pluck and commitment to filibuster in Texas, it sort of ruins it when you remember that she is standing up for infanticide. Another guest quickly responded, “I don’t agree with that,” but no one attempted to explain why or demonstrate that she was wrong.

  3. Stutzman has set up a fund for her defense. Donations can be sent to:

    Key Bank
    1275 Lee Blvd
    Richland, WA 99352
    509-392-4638
    Attn: Lindsey

    She probably also benefits if you buy stuff from http://www.arlenesflowers.net/

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